The New York Times reports that Jerry Nelson, noted Muppet performer, has passed away due to complications from emphysema. The Muppet wikia notes his full biography, and his legacy, both on Sesame Street and The Muppet Show, is amazing. Like the interchangeable Whatnot Muppets, Jerry Nelson was versatile, using his talents to fill numerous roles.
- The Muppet Show: African Mask (Fire), Albert Flan, Angus McGonagle, The Announcer (1977-1981), Automatic Wastebasket, Bagpipes (episode 520), Baskerville the Hound (episodes 106, 116, 208 and 308), Beakie (episode 412), Behemoth (episode 202), Benny, Big Tiny Tallsaddle, Bruno, Burlington Bertie, Bust of Beethoven, Camilla the Chicken (1978-2003), Cheesecake, Chuckie, Crazy Harry (1977-2002), Dancers, The Dancing Clown, The Devil, Doglion (episode 209), Dodo (episode 415), Dracula, Droop, Eel (episode 417), Emily Bear, Eric the Parrot, Eric the Yodeling Clam, Featherstone, Female Koozebanian Creature, Fleet Scribbler, Floyd Pepper (1975-2005), Forcryingoutloud Bird (episode 309), Fozzie Pig, Fred, Fungus, Fuzz Brother, The Gambler, Geri, Geri and the Atrics tambourine player (episode 517, Gingerbread Man, Gorgon Heap (episode 201), Granny the Gouger, Gnu, Harold, Herman, House #1 (episode 107), House #2, Humpty Dumpty, Irving Bizarre, J.P. Grosse, Jar of Orange Marmalade, Jerry, John Cleese’s Agent, Julius Strangepork, Koozebanian Phoob, Lenny the Lizard (episode 107), Leticia, Lew Zealand (1978-2003), Lewis Kazagger, Sundance (episode 416, episode 505), Luncheon Counter Monster (occasionally), Mean Mama (occasionally), Merdlidop, Mickey Moose, Miss Mousey, Mulch (episode 509), The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, Opossum, Paul, Paul Revere, Pierre LaCousse, Pig Minister, Pops, Pris Rudolph, Punching Bag, The Queen (episode 121), Quongo (episode 513), Robin the Frog (1971-2002), Sacrificial Idol, Salzburg Sauerkraut Singer, Sarcophagus, Scotsman, Shark (episode 417), Screaming Thing, Shouting Lady, Singing Owl, Slim Wilson, The Sphinx, Statler’s Grandson, Super Sheep, Talking Machine, Thog, Thudge McGerk, Tom, Dick, and Harry (Tom), Uncle Deadly, Vendaface, Vendawish, Whaddayasay Bird, Whatnot Monster, William Tell, The Witch Doctor, Yellow Creature, Yorick, Zelda Rose (episode 218)
- Sesame Street: Adam T. Glaser, Al, Andy, a banana from “Bilingual Fruit Song” (speaking voice only), Barry Rhymie, Bennett Snerf (monster version), Biff, Big Barney, Big Jeffy (in a sketch where Grover and the Monotones demonstrate the word “Walk”), Bill Compton Muppet, Bill Smith, Billy, Birdnardo Birdaluchi, Carlos, Charlie (occasionally), Chester O’Leary, Christopher Columbus, Chunky Cheese, Clam, Cookie Hood, Cookie Monster’s Pop, Cookie Monster’s Sister, Corny the Corn, Count von Count, Cousin Monster, Cyranose de Bergerac, David Finch, Don Dula, Dr. Livingstone, Dr. Snuffleupagus, Baby Monster, Ernest the Grouch, Farley, Farley (lavender boy), Felix the Grouch, Fico, Football, Frankie Monster, Frazzle, Fred the Wonder Horse, The Genie (1976), George, George Washington (“Sesame Street News Flash“), Granny Grouch, Green “Fat Cat” performer, Green Ed, Grouch Cop, Grouch Mayor, Guntag Gelman-Jones, H. Ross Parrot, Harvey Monster, Herbert Birdsfoot, Herry Monster, Hickory Dickory Duck, Hopalong Hamster, Humpty Dumpty, I. M. Pig, J Friend, Jack Be Nimble, Jackman Wolf, Japanese Storyteller, Jerome, Jimmy, Joe, Kathleen the Cow, Kermit the Forg, Kermit the Gorf, Kermit the Grof, King Wasteful V, Leo Birdelli, Leonard Birdseed, Leonard Wolf, Little Bo Peep, Little Jerry, Lord Hog, Mad Man, Marty, Mary Rhymie, Maurice Monster, Mean Manny, Middle, Mike, Monster Cookie, Mr. Chatterly, Mr. Foot, Mr. Ice Cream Cone Man, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Lucky, Mr. Snuffleupagus, Natalie, Nick Normal, Noel Cowherd, Number Guy, Oak Tree, Old King Cole, Pamela, Parker Monster, Pesties, Phil Harmonic, Pierre, Piper Piper, Poco Loco (1974-1978), a potato from “Grow High Grow Low“, Prince Firstly, Professor Nucleus Von Fission, Pumpkin Monotone (in the song “Proud“), Ricardo Monsterban, Rick, Rocky (baby), Rocky (Wiggly Tooth), Rodeo Rosie, Ronnie Trash, Sam the Robot, Sammy the Snake, Sandy the Snake, Sergeant Thursday, Sheriff Shrimp, Sherlock Hemlock, Simon Soundman, Sir John Feelgood, Sleeping Beauty, Slimey, Sneaky the Elf, Snooks, Sullivan (“Numerical Correspondence“), Teeth, The Amazing Mumford, The Big Bad Wolf, The Big Bad Wolf, The Country Mouse, The Emperor, The Fastest Person in the Kingdom, The Gonk, The Great Fentini, The Hare, The London Frog, The Miller’s Daughter, The Royal Barber, Angry, Drippy, Snookey, Sparkey, The Smartest Person in the Kingdom, The Sun, The Young Man Who Lives in a Glove, Tina Twiddlebug, Tony (1970), Tony, Tornado, Tough Eddie, Trevor Trout, Two-Headed Monster, Uncle Louie, Vern, Walter, Walter, Witch, Xavier, the Martians, Zizzy Zoomer, The Oat Bran Zydeco “Je Ne Sais Quoi” Band Lead Singer, various announcers and others
- Tales from Muppetland: Featherstone, Caleb Siles, Rover Joe the Hound Dog (puppet), Stepsister #2, Sweetums (puppetry only), T.R.
- The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence: Envy, Gluttony, Gene Shalit Muppet, Mount Rushmore (Thomas Jefferson), Statler, Yellow Stalk
- Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas: Emmet Otter, Doc Bullfrog, Melissa Rabbit, Stanley Weasel, Will Possum, Yancey Woodchuck
- Fraggle Rock: Gobo Fraggle, Marjory the Trash Heap, Pa Gorg (face and voice), Architect Doozer, Archbanger Fraggle (Pipebanger), Balsam the Minstrel (occasionally), Feenie Fraggle, Fishface Fraggle, Mervin Merggle, Rudy Vallee Doozer, Uncle Gobo
- The Muppet Christmas Carol: Ghost of Christmas Present (face and voice), Mr. Applegate, Father Mouse, Pig Businessmen, Rat Bookkeepers, Statler (as Jacob Marley), Penguins, Inkspots, Singing Food
- Muppet Treasure Island: Blind Pew, Mad Monty, Monocled Pirate, Floyd, Sal Minella, Island Heads, Statler (as Figurehead of the Hispaniola), Inkspots, Old Tom, Octopuses, Skulls, Jaques Roach (Cabin Fever), Spotted Dick, Singing Food
- Muppets Tonight: A. Ligator, Baby Jerry, Clarissa, Dr. Watson, Eggheads, Elvises, Ernest Pleth, The Head of the Network, Indiana Rat, The Irish Rodents, Jowls, The Mad Bomber, Mama Fiama, Moo-Ing, Percy, Phil, The President, The Rock Lobsters, Rob Reiner Muppet, Robbie, Robot Abraham Lincoln, Stosh, Taylor the Turkey, Toshiro, and The Two-Headed Comic (Left Head).
- It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie: Robin, Floyd, Announcer, Statler
- The Muppets: The Announcer
He even played himself, in this piece from The Muppet Show:
That’s Jim Henson on banjo, Jerry Nelson on guitar, and Frank Oz on bass.
He was also notable as an announcer, supplying the introductions for Muppet News Flashes as well as the unseen voice of Veterinarian Hospital and Pigs In Space. He also supplied voices for The Dark Crystal, as well as providing voices for Sesame Street long after he retired from muppetry. (His work can be heard in the upcoming season of Sesame Street.) In addition to his versatile voices (Lew Zealand, Dr. Julius Strangepork), he was a versatile singer, placing “Halfway Down The Stairs” on the British Top 10.
Robin, who performed on Tops of the Pops, appears in the following from the Muppet Show. This song was performed at Jim Henson’s memorial service in 1990, and seems somewhat appropriate.
There are so many more videos I could post: Herry counting with John John, Harry Belafonte singing “Turn the World Around”, Uncle Deadly performing with Vincent Price, the Galley-oh-hoop-hoop… Share your favorites below, remember the joy and laughter, and count your blessings.
I’ve been writing for The Beat since July of 2010.
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